We love Kate Noble’s smart, funny, sumptuous Regency historical romances, so naturally we were terribly excited when she asked us if she could reveal not one, but TWO upcoming covers here on the blog! For those of you who snapped up Kate’s first two books in the “Winner Takes All” series, which starts with a bet between two friends, you’ve probably been dying to find out what happens to Rhys, the handsome country doctor who has to serve as their Slap Bet Commissioner. (OK, so they didn’t call it that in the Regency, but still.) We can’t tell you everything, but we can give you a little glimpse of The Dare and the Doctor’s stunning cover!
We’d be happy playing doctor with that fine gentleman, but it looks like he’s already busy with a patient. Well played, milady! Here’s the scoop on what readers can expect with this one:
Dr. Rhys Gray and Miss Margaret Babcock are friends—just friends. But as they share letters, they share their lives with each other — and their close friends can’t help think that there might be something more.
When Dr. Gray helps Margaret come to London and realize her dearest dream, it seems that their connection cannot be denied. But when Rhys’s past comes back to haunt him, will their relationship stand up to the scruples of society, or are they destined to be only friends, and nothing more?
If you’re still craving more Regency gorgeousness, we are happy to oblige! How about this beauty on the cover of Kate Noble’s upcoming e-novella, Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night? This little gem fits neatly between books two and three of her series, but you don’t have to have read any of the other books in order to thoroughly enjoy a country lady’s trip to London!
Miss Cecelia Goodhue has been living quietly in the country–but when a rash young cousin seems to be pelting down the path to ruin, Cecelia takes it upon herself to protect the young woman’s honor, even if that means coming face to face with her own long-ago night of scandal.
Want even more? Read on for an exclusive sneak peek at Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night!
The little town of Helmsley was known for three things. First, its Market Days, which attracted merchants and visitors from all across the county of Lincolnshire. Second, its windmill, which stood tall and proud at the entrance to the town, grinding grain into the very best flour to be sold on said Market Days.
And finally, it was known for the miller, Mr. Turner, who just last year had stolen the bride of their most esteemed citizen, Sir Bartholomew Babcock. Mr. Turner had married the Countess of Churzy with a minimum of scandal and outrage, since everyone – most especially Sir Barty – declared the miller and the countess absolutely perfect for each other. But this is not that story.
“Something terrible has happened!”
Alarmed, Miss Cecilia Goodhue looked up from collecting slates. The schoolroom had been still since Friday, when the children had their last day before the spring planting season, but only now did Cecilia have the wherewithal to begin her ritualistic cleaning. She always got a little wobbly when her students went away — even if it was only for six weeks to help their families with the farms. Granted, most of her students would do little with their education, but to Cecilia’s mind, they deserved the chance of it. However, she had barely rolled up her sleeves when her sister burst into the little schoolhouse and made her dramatic declaration.
“What is it?” Cecilia asked, dropping the slates as her heart began to flutter in a terribly irresponsible pattern. The slates cracking as they hit the floor did little to help the fluttering.
“It is the most dreadful thing to have happened to this family since… well, you know.”
Cecilia went pale with alarm. “It cannot be as bad as that.”
“Yes, it can, for it is exactly that – oh Cecilia… our cousin Eleanor has run off!”
Cecilia nearly toppled over. “Oh heavens. Oh heavens,” she said, pressing her hands to her chest. “Are you quite sure? Could she have been abducted?”
“Oh, if only we were so lucky!” Imogene reached forward and shoved the letter into her sister’s hands.
Cecilia fished her spectacles out of her pocket, perching them on the end of her nose. She scanned the letter in silence, and then read it again, making sure she missed nothing.
“It is from Uncle Robert,” Imogene said, narrating as Cecilia tried to concentrate on what she was reading. “He says that a regiment had lately come to Manchester, and that Eleanor fancied herself in love with one of the gentlemen – although she refused to tell her mother which one. Once the regiment moved on, her mother thought the fancy would pass. But then Eleanor disappeared, and she found letters from the young man – whom I would not consider a gentleman, as he never presented himself to the family.”
“Yes, your opinion of the young man’s perfidy is noted,” Cecilia murmured as she read on.
The letters said the young man had transferred to a position in London. And that he would have enough money for Eleanor to join him. Eleanor took off in the middle of the night. She had been traced as far as a posting inn on the outskirts of London, but there the trail ran cold, because a young man in a uniform had collected the girl, and they disappeared into the city.
“She is with him, somewhere in London, and lost to her parents. Lost to us all!” Imogene ended on a wail. “Uncle had to go back to Manchester. It’s a wonder he managed to trace her as far as he did. He can only hope that Eleanor’s scandal does not touch any of her younger siblings, or impact his law practice, but you know it must. They shall bear the weight of the shame forever.”
“What?” Cecilia cried. “They have given up? But they cannot!”
“They cannot afford to pay off the young man – assuming they can find him. And they have no family in London to apply to for help. Indeed, Uncle is the only male relation left in our family. Eleanor is well and truly ruined.”
“No, I will not accept that,” she said, defiant. “Why, imagine what would have happened if Father had not come after me?”
It was not something that she and her sister often discussed. But it was always there, the very reason Cecilia found herself a spinster and living off of her sister’s husband’s grace.
“I refuse to believe that no one in the family is willing to go after Eleanor. I will go.”
“What?” Imogene’s head whipped up. “You?”
“Yes, me.” Cecilia could hardly believe she had said it, but now that she had, it made all the sense in the world. “School is out for the spring planting season. I can go to London without interrupting anyone’s studies.”
“Yes, but… how?”
“I have some money,” she replied. As she had never married, Cecilia inherited what would have been her dowry when she came of age, five years ago. In fact, it was enough for her to live on if she wished to live independently. But she had never touched it. It felt tainted, like blood money – a prize when all she deserved was penance. However, if any cause justified its use, it was finding Eleanor. “Although I will have to draw on the bank to use it, and I’d have to go to London to do that anyway…”
“Then that is the excuse we will give Spilsby!” Imogene cried. “You have to go to London to speak with the bank about your funds. Perhaps you are thinking of setting up your own establishment now that our little family is finally increasing.” Imogene’s hand went automatically to her slightly swollen stomach that had appeared in recent weeks. “No one will question or object to that. Oh! And Mrs. Emory’s old rooms on the square are for sale…”
“Yes, yes, that will do for an excuse,” Cecilia said, before Imogene’s tangent took on a life of its own.
“But, oh – you will need a chaperone.”
“Please,” she snorted. “I am six-and-twenty. I have already learned the hardest lesson that a young lady can learn. I do not require a chaperone.”
“You don’t know a soul in London. Spilsby may very well insist on accompanying you.”
“I’ll leave that to you,” Cecilia rose to her feet, and moved to grab her shawl off the hook by the kitchen door. She felt her boldness growing. “And as to not knowing a soul in London… well, I may not know a soul, but we know someone who does.”
“But, where are you going?” Imogene said.
“To meet with a countess,” Cecilia replied, and swept out the door.
Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night is available for pre-order now, and look for The Dare and the Doctor coming in November!